England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day May 25, 2012

Samuels century turns the heat on England


West Indies 304 for 6 (Samuels 107*, Sammy 88*, Anderson 2-58) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary

For two sessions, West Indies, debilitated by the IPL, were routinely preyed upon by England. Six wickets down for 138 shortly before tea, their plight was there for all to see. Things were so bad, it was hard to be optimistic about the future for West Indies Test cricket. Then Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy organised a recovery that made a mockery of what had gone before.

The Trent Bridge pitch went flat and England, so close to achieving what would surely have been an impregnable position, went flatter. By the close their stand was worth 167 runs in 41 overs. Samuels commands respect and received warm handshakes after reaching his third Test hundred. Sammy relished driving England's bowlers to distraction especially James Anderson, whose frustrated commentary on his unorthodoxy led the umpire, Aleem Dar, to intervene.

Samuels reached his century in the penultimate over of the day, with a clip to long leg off Anderson for only his third hundred in 39 Tests. At 31, he has finally understood his potential. His previous boundary had been blissful, an easeful extra-cover drive against Tim Bresnan, proof in a single shot that if he maintains the discipline he has shown in this series there can still be many more.

Once again, DRS proved its worth. The umpire, Asad Rauf, gave out Samuels lbw to Bresnan when he had only made a single, only for replays to suggest on West Indies' review that the ball was way too high.

Sammy, 88 not out from 121 balls at the close, has also answered his critics - although in Anderson's case they were prone to answering back. He has been characterised as a one-day cricketer in charge of a Test side, not quite good enough to prosper as a third seamer and reliant upon a rough-hewn batting style that prevents his promotion above No. 8.

But his innings had an endearing simplicity. He is the most convivial of biffers, a batsman of prodigious strength. Even block drives fly off his bat with meaning and when he puts his body into it, he has the strength of a coal miner. He can punish off-colour attacks and England, who conceded 106 in 23 overs up to the new ball, should be wary of the message. Bresnan, preferred to Steven Finn, might have won all his 12 Tests for England but he is a lucky charm in need of a polish.

When Sammy muscled Trott over mid-on after reaching his 50, one sensed that he did not believe he had a prayer against the second new ball. But he survived it, grinning at two midwicket whips against Anderson which flew to the third man boundary, smiling again (more sheepishly) at a perilous leave.

Their stand was the highest seventh-wicket partnership for West Indies against England and in Tests at Trent Bridge, surpassing the achievement of Collie Smith and John Goddard in 1957 - another alliance between a captain and a Jamaican. There are no better statistics than those that connect the generations so neatly.

It had all looked so different. West Indies opted for the offspin of Shane Shillingford in the expectation that he would come into his own on the last two days, especially with the hot forecast. The only challenge was exactly how they intended to reach them. By the morning drinks they were three wickets down for 42 and the doleful figure of Shivnarine Chanderpaul came out to the middle to sip a refreshment he did not need and observe a scoreboard he did not relish.

Anderson had a hand in all four morning wickets, dismissing Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo in an opening spell of 9-4-22-2 and holding two slip catches as Stuart Broad accounted for the openers, Adrian Barath, without scoring, and Kieran Powell for 33.

Anderson has an outstanding Test record at Trent Bridge, 33 wickets at 17 runs each going into the Test. He was initially so content that he might have won an advertising contract for camomile tea, even though while he held slip catches for Broad, others were spurning them off his own bowling. Long before the close, though, he was a camomile cricketer no longer.

Broad struck first: Barath edging a back-foot force in his second over and Anderson pulling off a nonchalant, fast, one-handed catch at third slip. For his own bowling, England's fielding lacked the same grace. He might have dismissed Edwards for a single, but Bresnan erred in the same position.

Edwards' tour of England has been a difficult one. He scored a century on Test debut against India last year, but he has yet to reach double figures on tour. Anderson jagged one back through the gate as once more he seemed late on the shot. He switched around the wicket to persuade Bravo to prod a wide-ish delivery to Graeme Swann at second slip.

And so, with indecent haste, it was time for Chanderpaul. He dug in for nearly ten-and-a-half hours at Lord's, but Anderson's bouncer almost dislodged him first ball as the ball flew off his arm guard and over the wicketkeeper, Matt Prior. An edge in Anderson's next over flew at catchable height between Bresnan's half dive and Swann's crouch as neither locked on to the coordinates. Broad completed an excellent morning's work by England as Powell edged a good-length delivery to Anderson at third slip.

England, who reduced West Indies to 79 for 4 by lunch, squeezed them dry in the first hour of the afternoon. Chanderpaul and Samuels added 13 runs in as many overs before Chanderpaul's unwieldy straight drive brought the first boundary of the afternoon. He had nine boundaries, including a few covert flicks and edges and even a couple of drives, before Swann intervened.

For Swann, to be an England spinner on his home ground at Trent Bridge had been to feel like the unwanted child. Finally, after two Tests in which he was limited to 17 overs, he had a wicket against his name. His toy to play with was Chanderpaul: not so much Action Man as Inaction Man but invaluable for all that.

Chanderpaul fell for 46, as Swann found first-day turn around off-stump and struck him on the back leg to have him lbw, but only after a successful review. "Nearly there," thought England as Bresnan bowled Denesh Ramdin. But nearly was not quite enough.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Godfrey on May 27, 2012, 12:25 GMT

    Roach is bowling well and seems to be coming back to form.

  • John on May 26, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    @kenishah on (May 26 2012, 07:55 AM GMT) To be honest , it could be that MS might prefer batting at 6 amd moving him up the order might hinder his recent form. Edwards and Bravo were averaging around 50 each pre tour so maybe they'll come good but I hear your points

  • Anupam on May 26, 2012, 17:37 GMT

    @ Keran Karsan Kerai& vivrichards after a long long time more than a decade WI shows some fight. always this point comes outside WI Fight well. the result of the fight is always zero. wi loose matches outside as well as at home. WI is not capable to even draw a series.

  • Shanmugam on May 26, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    @landsite, "they cant beat anybody of note outside of damp,overcast and cold England." can they now? Well, if you say Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Colombo are in England and these tests were played in damp, overcast conditions then good for you.

  • Rob on May 26, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    A good comeback from West Indies from 136-6 showed real application and spirit, saying that it has been excellent batting conditions with little assistance for the bowlers so a score of at least 400 would be par. If the hot weather continues for the duration then maybe Shillingford could be key in the last innings so England will need to post a lead, as I write the first wicket has gone so probably advantage WI. (no ball) so disregard that.

  • david on May 26, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    England 200 first inning lead WI 2nd Innings 220 all out England win by 10 wickets

  • Sharky on May 26, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    Go Sammy, you're not only the coolest head in the squad and the good loyal son of windies cricket, but you have leader abilities and player-skills. And Marlon Samuels !!! Jimmy Anderson also showed some world class bowling. Great Test Cricket. I've also decided that I will watch the IPL during lunch and tea breaks and I will follow the IPL highlights after stumps in the Test cricket. Long live Test Cricket !

  • Wayne on May 26, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    Great Fightback from our beloved Windies.

    I predicted Samuels would score two centuries in the Series. Now Captain Sammy needs to get three figures. Post a 390 first innings total, and it is game on.

  • John on May 26, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    I must admit that I am very disappointed in the 1sts days play - from an England point of view and to be honest I still don't fully trust our batsmen to show what a flat pitch it is

  • John on May 26, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    @Sinhaya on (May 26 2012, 05:07 AM GMT) - I guess Jimmy got a little frustrated , it happens although I'm sure you'll say other teams don't do that sort of thing when things aren't going their way. Still well done for noticing it when it happens to England. You are very vigilant when noticing bad points in the English game but I've not noticed one of your posts giving credit to England when they've done well.

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